Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic airway disease with increased airway resistance. This study investigated the common characteristics of electrocardiographic (ECG) and nostril airflow signals in COPD patients using cross-spectral analysis. Heart rate variability (HRV) measures and cross-spectral (cs) measures of ECG and nostril airflow were compared in COPD patients and normal subjects, and correlated with their clinical characteristics. We found that cross-spectral analysis can lead to a significant increase in normalized high-frequency power (nHFPcs) and a significant decrease in normalized very low-frequency power (nVLFPcs), normalized low-frequency power (nLFPcs), and low-/high-frequency power ratio (LHRcs) in both normal subjects and COPD patients, as compared with their corresponding HRV measures. Further analysis showed that the percentage increase in nHFP (%nHFP) and the percentage decrease in LHR (%LHR) due to cross-spectral analysis in COPD patients were significantly smaller than those of normal subjects. All cross-spectral measures of ECG and nostril airflow in COPD patients did not significantly correlate with their pulmonary function characteristics. However, the nHFPcs correlated significantly and negatively with body mass index (BMI) in both normal subjects and COPD patients, and the %nHFP correlated significantly and negatively with BMI in COPD patients. We conclude that cross-spectral analysis of ECG and nostril airflow signals could lead to reduced enhancement in the high-frequency component in the cross spectrum of COPD patients. The magnitude of reduced enhancement in the high-frequency component in the cross-spectrum was related to the BMI of the patients. Cross-spectral analysis of ECG and nostril airflow might be used to assess the cardiovascular-related functions of COPD patients.
- Body mass index
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Cross-spectral analysis
- Heart rate variability